A new Norwegian project, under the name Aegir, will gather SINTEF researchers to use their expertise in fuel cells and hydrogen studies to provide shipping with an emission-free fuel alternative.
he project has gathered partners including DTU-Technical University of Denmark, Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S, SINTEF, CoorsTEK, Vard, and VTT, to establish a design concept for a fully electric ammonia-fueled ship powertrain without CO2 emissions and having a tank-to-electricity efficiency of more than 60%.
Last year, it became clear that “Viking Energy” will be the first offshore vessel to run on ammonia. In this vessel, ammonia is converted to electrical energy using a ceramic high-temperature fuel cell (SOFC). This method is currently a bit more expensive and requires more space compared to the alternative the Aegir project will explore.
However, the Aegir project will combine two types of fuel cells and one membrane into one combined system. Ammonia must initially be decomposed using a SOFC. When the compound is broken, the hydrogen must be separated by means of a membrane that only lets hydrogen through in the form of protons. These are converted to very pure hydrogen gas which is then converted into electrical energy by means of a highly efficient PEM fuel cell.
In this way, the researchers believe that they can deliver a solution that will be both cheaper and more space-saving for shipping, according to Gemini news.
As such, the project seeks to demonstrate a reduction of GHG emissions of over 90% compared to the current SoA LNG fueled marine engines in a well-to-tank (including emissions from electricity production and ammonia synthesis and logistics) and tank-to-propeller (including the use of the fuel onboard) analysis.
Furthermore, the project aims to experimentally validate the three key enabling technologies for the integrated concept aiming at:
- a degradation rate below 0.3%/1000 h to enable 40000 h lifetime of the SOFC (ceramic high temperature fuel cell) system at >95% ammonia conversion,
- a hydrogen output from the PCEMR fulfilling the ISO 14687 specifications in terms of NH3, N2 and O2 concentration, and
- a degradation rate below 0.3%/1000 h to enable 40000 h lifetime of the PEMFC system using the hydrogen purity specifications from the PCEMR.
Ammonia as a fuel is seen as an attractive long-term solution for maritime as the industry transitions towards a zero- or low carbon value chain. This week, industry leaders also joined forces in a new project to develop guidance around the safe use of ammonia as a fuel.